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Barcelona are responsible for their own predicament

Tuesday 25th July 2017
When Barcelona took home the Club World Championship trophy in 2009, their name was etched in history as one of the greatest teams of all time by winning six trophies in just one season.

It was not just about the victory, but the graceful way at which prominent teams bowed to their competency. The Catalan side put up some outstanding displays and they did so with a team which consisted mostly of players groomed from their academy.

La Masia became a popular subject of discussion among football fans in particular. It became a model for other clubs. At that time, they seemed untouchable, as if  their Academy would always be an unending source of world class talents and they would continue to lead in the game.

Seven years later, however, La Masia has lost their dominance in the game and Barcelona finds themselves in a tight fix. Though they just took on Nelson Semedo from Benfica, a surface examination of their squad would reveal their frailties.

The Blaugrana's attack is still strong, with the MSN (Messi, Suarez and Neymar) holding down the fort and also with the recent addition of Gerard Deulofeu who, despite failing to fulfil his potential in the Euro U21 Championship, remains a decent choice to play back-up for the front line. However, aside from that, the subpar quality of their midfielders and defenders, sets them apart from the very best in Europe.
Their only hope of good defence lies in Gerard Pique while Mascherano's performance has taken a slump and Jordi Alba seem to just be a shadow of his once talented self. The likes of Lucas Digne and Alex Vidal have failed to live up to expectations. However, Samuel Umtiti seems to be going strong as his debut season at the Nou Camp was exemplary.

There was a time when Andres Iniesta was considered one of the best midfielders in the world. However, with a decline in recent performances, Barcelona's midfield no longer commands the respect it used to. While Ivan Rakitic has done a good job, his good side only shows up once in a while, less than Barcelona would have wished for.

Sergio Busquets, meanwhile, has failed to impress since Iniesta's abilities began to drain away. This is the main reason Barcelona are desperately looking to sign a central midfielder and have targeted Marco Verratti for the position, but it does not look like PSG will sell the Italian anytime soon.

And Barcelona, seemingly, is not rich enough to purchase him – which takes us to another of their shortcomings: finances.

Barcelona president, Josep Bartomeu, recently revealed that the club can only have access to €60 million this summer to sign players. Of that limited funds, €42 million has been used to acquire Gerard Deulofeu and Semedo.

So, Barcelona has little freedom in the transfer market as they cannot buy without selling. Another reason they necessarily have to sell is their wage structure. Bartomeu confirmed Messi's new contract would cost the club €565,000 per-week and that hikes the wage bill above the recommended limit.

With the likes of Paco Alcacer, Arda Turan and Andre Gomes – players whose contribution have been marginal – all raking home wages in the region of €100,000-per-week respectively, the Catalans are essentially lavishing around €15 million per year on players who are not making any positive addition to their team.

A comparison between them and Madrid would be like adding salt to an open in injury. Los Blancos have acquired the signature of two of the best midfielders from last season in Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente along with the world's best teenage left-back, Theo Hernandez and Kylian Mbappe could be joining them at the Santiago Bernabeu before the start of the new season.

Once upon a time, Barcelona were indomitable; they were at the very top of the game. Perhaps the power at the top intoxicated them and made them take things for granted.

Their over-confidence on La Masia and poor transacting in the transfer market, coupled with their destructive wage structure, is solely responsible for their dropped status.
Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan


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